It's that time of year when die-hard college football fans and die-hard NFL fans (some of which are one in the same) come together and debate endlessly about the draft and the players in them that can help NFL teams win games over the next 5-10 years. It's a spectacle very similar to the recruitment of high school talent, but with much more transparency and in a much shorter time frame.
It's a chaotic and undignified time, and what makes it so, is the unwavering loyalty college football fans have of their school's alumni. No matter what a "draft expert," journalist, or whomever else says, writes, and projects; these fans will stand up and debate to the death why their guy should be drafted higher than another and blah, blah, blah.
I am not in that league of fans. As a fan of the Packers, I merely look at the draft as a way to get the best possible players and fill the most needs for Green Bay. It makes little difference to me where the player comes from and how I might have viewed them in their college days. (Cheering for Clay Matthews is borderline blasphemy, but I do it none the less).
Because of this, I find the NFL Draft to have very little bearing on the progress of Notre Dame football. It is true that the draft can be an effective indicator of how well a college football program has recruited top talent, but it is not the end all in the matter. After all, was it just divine intervention that allowed Notre Dame to go 12-0 in the regular season with a top ranked defense while it's starting linebacker and starting safety were slower than George Burns.
You see, these combine results and eventual drafting (or free agent signing) of Notre Dame players does not further validate nor debunk this past season's success. If it tells me anything, it shows what positions Notre Dame will have to fill with new starters (that's about as an obvious "DUH" as you'll find anywhere).
Look, it's a good thing for the Notre Dame football program to have its former players do well in the draft and, more importantly, do well in the NFL, but it doesn't really matter. It's great to see players that we love continue to do well and make an even bigger name for themselves, but it doesn't really matter to the greatness of the Notre Dame Football program. A decent indicator of talent? Sure, but I'm much more concerned with the win and loss columns of both my Irish and my Packers. And in that sense, I don't have conflicting loyalties (I write a Notre Dame blog -- not a Packer blog), but I am able to separate the levels and see them for what they are.
Don't walk down this path blinded by loyalty and with the determination of a religious crusade, as you will only find ridicule and disappointment reserved for the most zealous of zealots. Hope for the best for your guys, which isn't always draft position as much as it is who drafts them. Debate if you will, but save the righteousness for your next Internet argument over Obama, your sister's deadbeat boyfriend, and some Prince from Nigeria.